In at second place is US President Barack Obama, followed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Pope Francis comes in at number four and rounding up the top five is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel is one of nine women who made it onto the list who represent 12 percent of the world’s most powerful people.
“This year’s list features 17 heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of some 48 trillion dollars,” said Forbes.
(READ MORE: Forbes Africa among top-read magazines in Africa)
The billionaires on the list include the likes of Bill Gates ranked at number 7, Warren Buffet (12), Carlos Slim Helu (14), Mark Zuckerberg (22) and Michael Bloomberg (23).
“This year’s class has 29 billionaires with a cumulative personal net worth valued in excess of $790 billion.”
The most powerful people on the African continent include Abdel el-Sisi at number 51, from Egypt, and Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote ranked at number 68.
(READ MORE: The African roots of Forbes magazine)
The 72 powerful people on the list – one for every 100 million people on the planet – were chosen by a panel of Forbes editors who took various factors into consideration for the ranking.
“This is not a lineup of the most influential or an anointing of the new establishment. It is an evaluation of hard power. We insist the people on our list wield the kind of power that shapes and bends the world, and moves people, markets, armies and minds,” said Forbes.